There are many reasons why Google Glass, and wearable tech in general, has failed to win over the public. But over and above the issues surrounding privacy, cost and usefulness, the simple fact remains: The device just doesn’t look good.
Shedding Google Glass’ nerdy Silicon Valley image proved difficult at rollout; since then, Google has made several moves to pivot the futuristic-looking face computers onto the fashion agenda.
That’s why enlisting up-and-coming singer and artist FKA Twigs to collaborate on its #ThroughGlass film series is a real coup for Google. Twigs is one of the music industry’s hottest names. Not only is she making critically acclaimed music as a singer and producer, she is a director, dancer and style icon, with bucketloads of cool — a trickle of which might be able to help Google Glass dissolve its geeky image.
For the #ThroughGlass campaign, Twigs has created a concept film, as both performer and director. The film, which is set to a re-scored version of her songs "Video Girl" and "Glass & Patron," incorporates the device and shows Twigs using it to call upon references and inspirations.
Just about every tech brand seems to be collaborating with celebrities. Earlier this month, actor and "product engineer" Ashton Kutcher fronted a new campaign for Chinese tech brand Lenovo. But the Twigs-Google collaboration feels different.
Twigs is known for the creative control she exerts over her music, films and image, which makes her stand out in an industry that churns out so many malleable stars. Twigs gives the impression that she wouldn’t slap her name on a corporate brand or product just because the price was right, giving this collaboration that much-desired air of authenticity all brands seek.
Rather than go for a big-name celebrity, Google has also chosen to collaborate with an emerging artist, which speaks volumes about the hip and creative audience it is trying to target. Also, by partnering with Twigs, who is known for experimentation, the brand is able to showcase the creative functionality of the device, which has been criticized as less than useful.
In recent months, Google Glass has stepped up its efforts to be perceived as fashionable. In January, Google partnered with Ray-Ban and Oakley maker Luxottica to design a range of glasses more fashionable than the "Star Trek"-esque ones it went to market with. In May, it hired fashion marketer Ivy Ross, and the device has also appeared on runways and in Vogue magazine.
The Luxottica glasses will not roll out until 2015, so Glass will still have to lay more groundwork to help the device achieve this goal. But targeting artists like Twigs is a step in the right direction and will give it a much-needed injection of cool.